Five in a Row: A Game for Practicing Addition Facts {April}

I'm back with more (free) Five in a Row fun. If you haven't given this game a try yet, what are you waiting for?  It's a fun and easy way for your students to practice their addition math facts.

What is Five in a Row?
Five in a Row is fun and engaging game where students practice their basic addition math facts.  Students will roll two number cubes (labeled 5-10) or two dice, add them together, and cover the sum on the game board.  The object of the game is to be the first person to cover five numbers in a row.

  • Game boards
  • Game pieces (double sided counters, dimes and pennies, different colored linking cubes, and so on) NOTE: since the two players share the same game board, they need different game pieces to denote which spaces they've claimed as their own
  • 2 Number Cubes (blank cubes numbered 5 through 10) OR 2 dice (depending upon the level of play)
How to Play
  • Students play in pairs. 
  • Student A rolls the two number cubes (or dice), adds the numbers together, and covers that number on the board.
  • Student B does the same.
  • Play continues back and forth in this fashion.
  • The first player to get five counters in a row is the winner!
Note:  If a player rolls their number cubes or dice, but the sum is not available, then they do nothing (and hope they have better luck when their next turn comes around).

You can grab this Five in a Row game board for free!  It includes color and black and white versions, as well as two levels of play:
  • Sums of 2 through 12 (played with two dice)
  • Sums of 10 through 20  (played with two number cubes numbered 5-10)
I hope you enjoy the early freebie!  And, as always, a black and white version of each level of play is included.

Click here to grab this free game board.


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What's the Problem {April}

Looking for some fun and challenging word problem practice?  Then, look no further, the newest installment of "What's the Problem?" is ready to share.  This (free) mini book series is a great way to give students practice with writing their own addition and subtraction word problems. 

So what is a "What's the Problem?" mini book?  It's a project that tasks students with creating a story (word)  problem for a given answer.  They have to use a different kind of thinking to do this, and they have to use the correct vocabulary terms as they write their problems (i.e. "how many more?" or "how many in all?" and so on).

When working on this skill, my students are taught to write three sentences.  The first two sentences pose the problem, and the third asks the question. I also tell my students that they need to use the answer label throughout their story.  For example:

Sally found 15 plastic containers.  Then, she found 11 more plastic containers.  How many gold plastic containers did Sally find in all?

"What's the Problem?" is a great way to get students thinking about word problems from a different angle and encourages them to use math vocabulary appropriately. They have to focus carefully on crafting their word problem and as they develop this skill, they will also be able to more easily solve other word problems.

When your students are ready, they could write two step story problems. Or, you could task them with adding "extra" information to their word problems as a device to try and "trick" the reader.  You could also have students draw a model for their word problem in the space at the bottom of each page.

You can grab the free April mini book here.

Also, you can find my other "What's the Problem?" mini books here. 


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Weather, Weather, Weather

Weather is one of my favorite springtime units.  It's usually a hit with the kids too because they love learning about their world.  And, they can even relate to (some of) the material because they have experienced it.  So, let's take a look at some engaging ways to learn about weather in the primary classroom.

Track the weather 
For some reason, kids always get a kick out of this.  Who am I kidding...I get a kick out of it too.  Each day we visit and check the conditions and temperature of our city.  Sometimes, we track our own weather, as well as that of a city with a similar climate so that we can compare the daily temps and conditions.

This is a super old tracking form that I made years ago.  I wish I had a copy to share, but since I made it a million years ago, I can't seem to locate the digital file. :(

Use Your Textbook
I like to use our Science textbooks throughout my weather unit.  Bonus: the kids love this book!  Sometimes, they ask to read it in their free time.  For real!  I digress.

After reading some content in your textbook (or any kind of text you have available-close reads, A-Z readers, etc.), have your students make a flap book to share key details from the text.

In this example, my students made flap books that identified and defined three types of wet weather as they were described in the text book.   

On the front of each flap, I had them write the name of a type of wet weather.  They also illustrated each type of weather.  Beneath each flap, they defined that type of weather.

This is a great activity to get your students interacting with text in a meaningful way. And, it helps them take pride in what they are doing because they are turning that blank piece of paper into their own little creation.

Make a Diagram
Water cycle diagrams are nothing new, of course, but they do help the students really visualize this process.  So, why not let your students construct their own diagram?

After reading about the water cycle (in our textbook), and talking about it as a group, my students make a diagram of the water cycle.

I like the idea of them constructing the entire diagram rather than just labeling one.  As they create their diagram, they are thinking about each component more deeply.

I give them a task sheet and templates to keep them on track. The templates help them get the project completed in the time allotted.  (Click either image below to get your copy from Google Docs).

You can provide a bit of scaffolding for this project by projecting an image like this one.  I found this on Pinterest. It's great for reminding the students where to place the components- sun, cloud, body of water- of their diagram (I white out the words/letters and then project it).

 Click on the image to see this pin on Pinterest.  Sorry about the rotation of the photo, but that's how it was pinned.

Make a Mini Book
Mini books are a staple in my classroom.  We make them all.the.time.  The students enjoy making their own books and it's an easy way to keep that content nice and organized.

During our weather unit, my students make a book about the seasons.  Once again, we use the content in our textbooks to help complete this project.  After reading about how the weather changes seasonally, I have the students go back and do some information gathering about each season.

I made this mini book for them to use to gather their facts. I like to do the first page together so they are familiar with my expectations.

 Two suns? Hmmmm.

Click the image below to grab a copy of this mini book from Google Docs.
Graphics: KPM Doodles and Creative Clips by Krista Wallden

Make a Hat
We make lots of hats in my classroom.  It's a great way to throw in a bit of fun during a unit of study.  It's also super cute when they are all wearing their hats and we are walking in our line after school.

This is a hat my students made after we examined different types of "bad" weather.

We read about different types of bad weather (thunderstorms, tornadoes, and hurricanes) and then the students chose one of those weather types and gathered safety tips from the textbook.  They wrote each safety tip of a cloud shaped template, cut out their clouds, and glued them to a sentence strip hat.

Click either image below to grab a copy from Google Docs.

Graphics: KPM Doodles, Font: Miss Tina

Write, Write, Write
Don't forget to integrate some writing into your unit too!

You could ask your students to share their opinion about the weather.  More specifically, you could ask a question such as, "Do you like the rain?" and have them respond to that.

Or, they could write about how to stay dry when it is raining outside.

Or, they could write about a time they experienced some type of weather they learned about during your unit of study.  The possibilities are endless!
I hope you were able to grab a few ideas from this post.


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It's My Lucky Day Freebie Linky!

My friend Cindy, from Granny Goes to School, is hosting a super fun linky! 

Why is this linky so fun?  Well, because if you follow all the links, you will have collected 10 fantastic St. Paddy's themed freebies!

Here's how it works: There are 10 participating blogs.  Each participating blog will send you to the next blog in the linky to get your next freebie.  I am stop #8; if you are starting here, follow the link provided at the end of this post to get your next freebie, then follow the link in that post, and so on.  Eventually you will come full circle and will have collected 10 wonderful freebies!  After collecting your 10 freebies, from all 10 fabulous bloggers, go and visit Cindy's site for your chance to enter to win a $20 Target gift card!  Sweet!!

With all that said, here is my freebie!
Click on the image to access this download on Google Docs.

A colleague shared this idea with me several years ago but the copy was a handwritten copy of a copy and getting a bit tired.  So, I made a few minor changes and typed it up.  I've included a prewriting organizer and two sets of lined paper.

I hope you can use it in your classroom!

Now, to get your next St. Paddy's freebie, be sure to visit the lovely Irene from Learning with Ms. Leeby.  And, don't forget to visit Cindy's site once you make your way through the entire linky for your chance to win a Target gift card!

Have fun!!

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